Exploring Saadiyat: Top 5 Things to Experience in Abu Dhabi’s Stunning Island

Are you looking for a happy place?

Then set your sights on Saadiyat Island. This natural gem just seven minutes off downtown Abu Dhabi is a culture and tourism hub that beckons to those who want to enjoy culture, luxury, and nature in one spectacular destination.

From soaking in art and culture at the Louvre Abu Dhabi to savoring the beach vibe in a private beach cabana at the exclusive Saadiyat Beach Club, a trip to this Emirati Isle is a temptation you should not resist.

Abu Dhabi

Saadiyat Island, whose name means “The Island of Happiness,” is indeed a place to experience different enjoyment levels. From artistic spaces to scholastic zones, cultural haunts to modern diversions, and lush fairways to azure seascapes, there is something here to delight everyone.

Developed to be a cultural center in Abu Dhabi, Saadiyat Island is a mix of commercial, residential and leisure projects. On this island will rise several museums, resorts, and other educational, social, and recreational areas.

While some attractions and establishments are still under construction, several have already opened their doors to visitors. Aesthetes can feast their eyes on artistic masterpieces at museums, golfers can practice their swings at the green, and beach lovers can don their fabulous beach kimonos for a seaside brunch.

If you’re wondering what else can delight you on this island, here are some of the top destinations you can experience:

Abu Dhabi

If you’re a fan of art, architecture, and other must-see museum pieces, then head down to Saadiyat Island and visit the Louvre Abu Dhabi.

Considered as the seventh wonder of the urban world, Louvre Abu Dhabi holds the distinction as the first universal museum in the Arab world. This iconic art and civilization museum is also an architectural masterpiece. Designed by the Pritzker-prize winning architect, Jean Nouvel, the Louvre Abu Dhabi covers 9,200 square meters of gallery space.

Home to a rich collection of priceless artworks, it is also a venue for unique temporary exhibitions. Set at the Saadiyat Cultural District’s heart, this world-class museum showcases the region’s masterpieces, each possessing thousands of years’ worth of cultural and historical value. Galleries also feature pieces from prominent museums worldwide, such as the Centre Pompidou, Musée du Louvre, and Musée d’Orsay in Paris.

Visitors can purchase tickets in advance through their online facility. You can also choose to explore the Louvre Abu Dhabi with an expert guide by your side.

Abu Dhabi

With a name that translates to “a place of enlightenment,” Manarat Al Saadiyat is a place that can inform and educate you about the region’s cultural legacy. 

Strategically positioned in the middle of the Saadiyat Cultural District, Manarat Al Saadiyat is an art and cultural hangout for those who enjoy community events, film screenings, interactive exhibitions, and other cultural displays throughout the year. 

This popular arts institution has a whole roster of activities in its annual calendar. Enjoy joining or watching activities like art classes, comedy gigs, educational sessions, and live performances. Temporary art exhibits, theatre workshops, and yoga classes also attract creative arts and wellness enthusiasts. Manarat Al Saadiyat also houses an art and photography studio, auditorium, café and restaurant, outdoor events terrace, and three galleries. 

A trip to Manarat Al Saadiyat will allow you to see one of Abu Dhabi’s most iconic buildings – the UAE Pavilion. Just in front of Manarat Al Saadiyat sits the Norman Foster-designed building with its magnificent golden roof that represents the desert dunes of the Emirates.

Abu Dhabi

Just a stone’s throw away from the beach and the Saadiyat Cultural District, New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) campus is a community-driven liberal arts and science institution.

If you are passionate about learning, this educational fortress will be a great place to acquire more knowledge while enjoying its warm and genial atmosphere. The fusion of traditional and modern architecture reflects the pedestrianized campus’s identities: Abu Dhabi, New York, and the rest of the world.

For visitors, NYUAD is not just a sight for sore eyes. Combining the best in education, research, and teaching, NYUAD also prides itself on a strong sense of community. You can visit the Arts Centre and enjoy a calendar full of events. There are several cultural activities and performances and educational and outreach programs that you can also catch.

Abu Dhabi

If you adore places that combine luxury with casual simplicity, then you should visit Saadiyat Beach Club. Whether you want to indulge in laid-back activities or partake in high energy experiences, this exclusive beach club will indeed surpass your expectations.

With choices that range from a day pass to a range of monthly, quarterly, or annual memberships, you can relish the feeling of being nestled in its secluded spaces. Tucked away in its slice of sandy shore, this beachfront property offers a myriad of glorious experiences.

Topping it is the irresistible charm of its 650-square-meter outdoor chilled pool. Here, you can simply laze around while enjoying the panoramic view of the beach. If you’re with friends or family, you can also enjoy a hearty meal or two at any of their well-loved restaurants and lounges.

Perfect for both daytime and dusk activities, Saadiyat Beach Club invites guests to luxuriate in world-class facilities. This private club houses a gym, spa, gentleman’s grooming lounge, private poolside cabanas, plush sun loungers by the beach, and top-rate dining options.

Abu Dhabi

Golfers and golf enthusiasts will surely delight in this Gary Player-designed golf haven. Harnessing Saadiyat Island’s white-sand beaches’ natural splendor, Saadiyat Beach Golf Club is a gracious host for a truly unique golfing experience.

 Whether you are an amateur or certified golf pro, the carefully positioned tee boxes ensure that every yard is as thrilling as the next one. They also have an in-house Academy Team that can assist you in improving your game performance.

What’s more, they have the Hawksbill Restaurant that provides golfers and non-golfers a relaxed setting where you can enjoy sumptuous meals. Named after the island’s natural inhabitants, the critically endangered Hawksbill turtles, this dining spot offers indoor and outdoor seating so you can gaze out to the Arabian Sea and maybe spot a dolphin or two.

Spectacular Saadiyat

Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi offers a wide range of activities and experiences that will surely delight every guest. If you ever find yourself in need of adventure or a dose of fun, then it’s time to head down to the isle of happiness.


Chiara Bisignani is the F&B Marketing Executive at Saadiyat Beach Club. She oversees website maintenance, PR requests, marketing initiatives, and all general guests' enquiries for the company's destinations of KOI R

Like this post?

Chat with us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter or share it with your friends.

Written by

I’ve been travelling ever since a was a child but my first large trip was at the age of 13 when I was sent to live for a couple months to London. This trip has changed me and ever since I just want to see more and more of our beautiful world. Every trip gives me new emotions, charge and strength to keep going further.

Want to write for us?

We write about the most luxurious, unique, amazing travel experience. If you are really passionate about traveling and can provide good quality pictures, let's talk.